Vernon Wells Rumors
Former Expos outfielder Warren Cromartie is convinced that the city of Montreal would welcome baseball back with open arms, writes Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press. Cromartie is heading up the Montreal Baseball Project -- an organization that has been formed with the goal of bringing baseball back to Montreal. The $400K project will be completed by year's end and feature financial analysis, legal consultation and extensive market research among the city's population. Here's more from around the league for those of you in the mood for some late-night reading...
- Former Expo (and Angel, Ranger and Oriole) Vladimir Guerrero has an offer from the independent league Quebec Capitales, and he's been in contact with the Long Island Ducks as well, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (confirming an earlier tweet from Chris Cotillo).
- The Indians are hopeful of working out a trade with the Rangers to keep Rule 5 Draft pick Chris McGuiness, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.
- The Yankees had preliminary discussions with Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday but don't see a fit, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports (via Twitter).
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart breaks down Rick Ankiel's incentive structure with the Astros (on Twitter). Ankiel, who has a $750K base salary, will receive $75K for 200, 250 and 300 plate appearances. He'll then receive $100K for 350, 400 and 450 plate appearances. All told, he could earn $1.275MM. Ankiel, an Article XX(B) free agent, was named the team's everyday right fielder earlier today.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times expects the Angels to receive a low- to mid-level prospect from the Yankees when the reported Vernon Wells trade is finalized (Twitter link).
- Joey Nowak of MLB.com lists 12 notable out of options players who could be traded before the end of Spring Training.
The latest from ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required)...
- Cuban slugger Yasiel Puig is forcing the Dodgers' hand with his monster performance in Spring Training, Olney writes. While the team clearly has no place for him to play given the presence of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the buzz he's generating and intrigue from scouts could force the team to consider him for a quick promotion to complement Ethier and/or Crawford against left-handed pitching.
- Olney wonders why the Yankees appear willing to take on $13MM of Vernon Wells' salary in the trade that has reportedly been agreed to, but wouldn't spend that money on Russell Martin earlier in the offseason: "Instead of having a good defender at a premium defensive position, they have now invested that money in a corner outfielder who has been in decline the last couple of seasons and wasn't even used as a regular player for much of 2012."
- One possible explanation, as Olney notes, is the salary relief the Yankees will get from Mark Teixeira's injury. The World Baseball Classic is paying the team $7-8MM to cover the injury sustained by Teixeira as he prepared for the event.
- Similarly, the WBC is picking up the tab for the Dodgers on the injury sustained by Hanley Ramirez in the Championship game.
11:42pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post says "most of the dollars will be applied to 2013" for the Yankees. Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has further details, explaining how "fancy accounting" could actually lead to a luxury tax credit for 2014. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports pegs the Yankees' tab closer to $14MM.
5:44pm: Out of the $42MM owed to Vernon Wells for 2013-14, the Yankees will pay in the range of $12-14MM, tweets Heyman. Earlier this afternoon, Heyman reported that the Yankees and Angels are in agreement on the deal, and "only seemingly small hurdles like commissioner approval remain." Since Wells has been a complete non-factor over the last two seasons, unloading $12MM+ of his contract seems like a big win for the Halos. - Tim Dierkes
3:28pm: Wells has let the Angels know he will accept the trade, tweets Heyman. "Always tough to say goodbye, but I'm excited," Wells told reporters, including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, as he was pulling out of the Angels' parking lot.
2:45pm: The Angels and Yankees are discussing a trade involving Vernon Wells and a deal could be done today, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com categorized the talks as serious (on Twitter). Passan however tweeted one important caveat: Wells has a no-trade clause and it is uncertain whether he would waive it for the Yankees. A source tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney there is a "strong chance" the deal happens as Wells is said by a teammate to be excited about the possibility of joining the Yankees (via Twitter).
Wells is owed $42MM over the next two years and Passan tweeted the Yankees will receive some money in the deal, but the amount is not nearly as significant as one might think. The New York Post's Joel Sherman suspects the Angels will need to eat $34MM and that, along with the no-trade clause, will require more time before a trade can be finalized (Twitter links).
Last month, it was reported the Yankees were not expected to deal for Wells. But with Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter expected to start the season on the disabled list, their need for Wells' bat has increased with the 34-year-old likely becoming the everyday left fielder.
Charlie Wilmoth and Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The trade of the Angels' Vernon Wells to the Yankees appears to be on a path toward becoming official. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has tweeted that the two teams are in agreement. Wells himself has acknowledged the trade, and has cleaned out his locker. Here are some notes on the deal.
- For the Yankees, the trade is a sign of desperation, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan writes. "The reaction to the deal across baseball was a mix of wonderment and criticism," Passan reports, taking note of Wells' declining batting average and on-base percentage. Passan also writes that the Yankees' dependence on aging players such as Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson led to the rash of injuries that motivated their interest in Wells. The Yankees have alternatives in their own system who are better than Wells, Passan argues, including Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte.
- Richard Justice of MLB.com calls the Wells deal "a puzzling move," noting that the price the Yankees will pay -- likely somewhere around $13MM for two seasons -- is "no bargain." Wells "might not even be an upgrade over Brennan Boesch," Justice says. Ultimately, however, Justice describes Wells as "a gamble worth taking," thanks in part to his ability to play all three outfield positions.
- The trade would give the Angels' Peter Bourjos more breathing room, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com writes. Bourjos was already the Angels' starter in center field, but with Wells gone, there will be less of a threat Bourjos will be replaced if he doesn't have a good start to the season.
Vernon Wells will be 35 years old when his $126MM contract expires following the 2014 season, at which point he expects to retire. The outfielder told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that his playing career will end after two more years.
Wells told Gonzalez that he intends to spend more time with his kids once he retires. Yet the three-time All-Star still expects to be involved in baseball. Wells hopes to own an MLB team at some point, and he plans to work with former teammate Torii Hunter. They plan on starting with a minor league team and progressing from there.
"It's definitely something we're interested in doing once we're both done playing," Wells told Gonzalez. "It's fun, man. Instead of playing fantasy GM, you're actually putting together your own team and learning what it takes to pretty much make money in an organization, especially in the minor leagues.”
Wells will earn $42MM between now and the end of the 2014 season, by which point he'll have earned more than $130MM during his playing career. Hunter will have earned $160MM at the MLB level by the time his two-year deal with the Tigers expires.
The Yankees aren’t expected to trade for Wells, even after losing Curtis Granderson for the beginning of the regular season. Wells posted a .230/.279/.403 batting line with 11 home runs in 262 plate appearances for the Angels in 2012.
Curtis Granderson’s broken arm could affect many teams around MLB, including the Angels. Now that the Yankees might be in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, it’s fair to wonder if Vernon Wells could be dealt to New York. However, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that the Angels will “probably not” send Wells to the Bronx.
Not only are the Angels unlikely to absorb enough of Wells’ contract to make a trade appealing for the Yankees, Wells provides the Angels with insurance against an injury of their own. The 34-year-old outfielder said he’s focused on the Angels, not the Yankees.
"It just stinks for them. It has nothing to do with me," Wells said. "I'm wearing an Angels uniform. I want to win in this uniform.”
Wells said he monitors trade rumors without obsessing over them, Shaikin reports. Now entering his third season with the Angels, Wells is set to earn a total of $42MM during the 2013-14 seasons. He posted a .230/.279/.403 batting line with 11 home runs in 262 plate appearances with Los Angeles last year, playing all three outfield positions.
As Tim Dierkes of MLBTR outlined yesterday, the Yankees will start by considering internal outfield options like Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera. Out of options players and fringe outfielders could also capture the attention of Yankees GM Brian Cashman and other Yankees executives this spring.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined the market for Kyle Lohse and wrote it would be very surprising to see the Royals make a move for him. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star agrees, even if a rash of injuries were to hit their starters, because the Royals are $10MM over their projected break-even point in payroll. Dutton adds James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie, and Wade Davis can't pitch poorly enough this spring to lose their spots in the rotation. Elsewhere around the American League:
- The Yankees will not let the way Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract has panned out affect their negotiations with Robinson Cano, GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Radio's Ian O'Connor (transcript courtesy of ESPNNewYork.com). "There's only so much you can spend, but we'll look at Robbie as an individual, not as it relates to whatever we're doing with Alex Rodriguez and our commitment and the regression we have experienced with Alex," said Cashman.
- The Yankees announced Curtis Granderson will miss the next ten weeks with a fractured right forearm after being hit with a pitch during today's Spring Training game. Non-roster invitees Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera plus minor leaguers Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte are the in-house candidates to replace the Yankees' leading home run hitter from a year ago, tweets the YES Network's Jack Curry.
- If the Yankees do go outside the organization to replace Granderson, they can find a better option toward the end of camp, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
- A deal for Alfonso Soriano could make sense for the Yankees and the Cubs have made it clear to the industry they would be willing to pay much of the $36MM owed Soriano for the next two years, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links).
- Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com asked if the Yankees turn to Vernon Wells to replace Granderson. If so, the Angels would still have to eat a majority of the $42MM due Wells over the next two years (Twitter links).
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, he's satisfied with the DH candidates already in camp and will not scour the free agent market. "We’re answering the questions here,” Showalter said. “We’re going to find it right here. We spent a lot of time getting this group in. We’re going to look in our backyard." Wilson Betemit is the main candidate to DH against right-handers while Russ Canzler and Danny Valencia are the favorites against left-handers. Dubroff also sees Nolan Reimold in the mix as well as regulars whom Showalter wants to give a breather.
Earlier today, the Padres signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal and announced that they've avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson by agreeing to a one-year deal. Here's some more news out of baseball's West divisions...
- The Rockies are open to a multi-year deal with Dexter Fowler if Fowler and his agents at Excel Sports Management come up with a proposal to the club's liking, writes MLB.com's Thomas Harding. Colorado recently signed Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year deal despite previously saying they preferred one-year deals.
- Vernon Wells would prefer to remain with the Angels and prove to fans what he's capable of rather than be traded elsewhere with a chance to start (Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times reports on Twitter). Wells says he knows he has to earn a spot to play and that he has to work hard in order to do so.
- Major League Baseball isn't happy with the Dodgers' reported new TV deal, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that the previous fair-market value for a new deal called for an $84MM annual value. The Dodgers agreed to a deal with Time Warner Cable earlier today that would provide the team with roughly $280MM annually. That number has created significant revenue-sharing concerns among MLB officials.
- Though the Rockies continue looking for starting pitching, they aren’t close to signing Carl Pavano or Derek Lowe, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. Renck reported earlier this week that the Rockies were pursuing the free agent right-handers aggressively.
- The Rockies would love to sign free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a minor league deal, Renck reports. The veteran backstop played for the Rangers, Brewers and Blue Jays in 2012.
- The Yankees discussed Delmon Young internally, but didn’t have great reports on his performance, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Phillies signed Young to a one-year contract yesterday.
- Vernon Wells could spend much of the coming season on the Angels’ bench, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Wells is unlikely to be traded, yet he doesn’t project as a regular. Though the Angels explored deals involving Wells, owner Arte Moreno was never willing to absorb a substantial part of the $42MM remaining on Wells’ contract to complete a trade. Naturally other teams weren’t interested in paying Wells $21MM per season through 2014.
The Angels' Vernon Wells has been a trade candidate for quite some time but a source tells Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter) that it is now "very likely" that he will start the season with the Halos. Those odds have increased even more now that Delmon Young landed in Philadelphia. Here's more from around baseball..
- Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro told reporters that they plan to use Young as their starting right fielder, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Young, who may not be available to start the season as he recovers from ankle surgery, has not played the position in six years.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says that he hopes to work out a new contract with Adam Wainwright by Opening Day, tweets ESPN.com's Jim Bowden. For his part, the pitcher says that he isn't setting a deadline for talks.
- The acquisition of Rafael Soriano caught Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard by surprise, but he isn't in a rut over not getting the chance to close in 2013, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.